The Lotus-Eaters
Book IX of Homer's Odyssey

"I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the

sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eater,

who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to

take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore

near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company

to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they

had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among

the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the

lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring

about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened

to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the

Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless,

though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made

them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at

once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting

to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars.

Wine and the Cyclops
Book X


"He then took the cup and drank. He was so delighted with the

taste of the wine that he begged me for another bowl full. 'Be so

kind,' he said, 'as to give me some more, and tell me your name at

once. I want to make you a present that you will be glad to have. We

have wine even in this country, for our soil grows grapes and the

sun ripens them, but this drinks like nectar and ambrosia all in one.'

"I then gave him some more; three times did I fill the bowl for him,

and three times did he drain it without thought or heed; then, when

I saw that the wine had got into his head, I said to him as

plausibly as I could: 'Cyclops, you ask my name and I will tell it

you; give me, therefore, the present you promised me; my name is

Noman; this is what my father and mother and my friends have always

called me.'

"But the cruel wretch said, 'Then I will eat all Noman's comrades

before Noman himself, and will keep Noman for the last. This is the

present that I will make him.'

As he spoke he reeled, and fell sprawling face upwards on the

ground. His great neck hung heavily backwards and a deep sleep took

hold upon him. Presently he turned sick, and threw up both wine and

the gobbets of human flesh on which he had been gorging, for he was

very drunk.


Then Jove's daughter Helen bethought her of another matter. She

drugged the wine with an herb that banishes all care, sorrow, and

ill humour. Whoever drinks wine thus drugged cannot shed a single tear

all the rest of the day, not even though his father and mother both of

them drop down dead, or he sees a brother or a son hewn in pieces

before his very eyes. This drug, of such sovereign power and virtue,

had been given to Helen by Polydamna wife of Thon, a woman of Egypt,

where there grow all sorts of herbs, some good to put into the

mixing-bowl and others poisonous

Book XIV

It is the wine that makes

me talk in this way; wine will make even a wise man fall to singing;

it will make him chuckle and dance and say many a word that he had

better leave unspoken; still, as I have begun, I will go on.